On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning North Korea's recent rocket launch, and expanding existing U.N. sanctions to include a handful of North Korean companies, a bank and the North Korean space agency.
After the vote, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan rice told reporters that, "This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation of its obligations under previous resolutions.”
"More importantly,” according to Rice, “the provisions of this resolution -- both new sanctions and the tightening and expanding of existing measures -- concretely help to impede the growth of North Korea's (weapons of mass destruction) program and reduce the threat of proliferation by targeting entities and individuals directly involved in these programs," she said.
North Korea has continued to press ahead with rocket launches and nuclear tests despite international sanctions and condemnation.
In December, it angered the international community with its launch of a long-range rocket that appeared to put a satellite in orbit, a major breakthrough for the reclusive, nuclear-equipped state;
the launch followed a botched attempt in April and came just days after Pyongyang suggested a planned launch could be delayed.
Although Pyongyang insisted that the launch’s mission was to place a scientific satellite in space "for peaceful purposes”, many nations, such as the United States and South Korea, considered the rocket launch to be a cover for testing ballistic missile technology.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry issued a response to the Security Council's action, saying it will maintain its military power and continue to launch "peaceful satellites."
"We will continue to expand and strengthen our self-defensive military power, including nuclear deterrence, to cope with U.S.'s scheme of putting (on) sanction pressures," said the statement, which was carried by KCNA, North Korea's state news agency.
North Korea also stated that it is open to peace talks, but would not discuss giving up its nuclear weapons.
"In the future, there could be talks about the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, but there won't be any dialogue regarding (the) denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the Foreign Ministry statement said.
South Korea said its northern neighbor should "halt any additional provocation, and it should clarify its effort of denuclearization through specific action."